Articles - New Homes

Questions You Should Always Ask at a Display Home

7th January 2019

Modelling a home from a display home certainly has its perks, but if you don't ask the right questions you may find yourself with regrets later down the track. It's important to remember that those stunning finishes and features that made you fall in love with the home may not be included in the base price.

To help you get everything you think you're buying when you sign the dotted line with your builder, we've put together our list of questions you should always ask a builder when you visit their display home.

How long is the current build time of the display home?

Build time is something that can vary dramatically from builder to builder. You should be asking how long it will take for your potential home to be built, allowing you to decide if you will have enough time to get your affairs in order. If you need your home built quickly, this could be a make or break factor.

How many homes have they built and are currently building?

You can learn many things about a home builder by knowing how many homes they have built. Also, if they have created a lot of new homes, you can trust that they know what they are doing. However, if they are a boutique or luxury builder, fewer houses are not indicative of lower quality, it may mean they have more time and resources to put into your new home.

If possible, an excellent way to judge builder quality is to find a home that has already been lived in for a few months. Does it live up to the standards of the display home?

Can you make changes to the layout?

If you find the perfect design for you but have a few ideas on how to truly make it your own, ask whether it's possible to make changes to the plan. Different home builders will have different rules on what you can and can't change. Also, it may not be structurally possible to make your desired changes. It can get expensive when you move away from the original design, so make sure you get a fixed quote before you decide to go ahead with any alterations.

What is an inclusion versus optional extras in the display home?

A new home will come with a complete range of standard features included in the base price. All inclusion and finishes vary from builder to builder and from one design to another. Most display homes include a balance of premium options and standard includes to suit each buyers vision. Optional extras may be the little things such as upgraded flooring or curtains to big ticket items like an additional balcony or bifold doors to an outdoor space.  

If you're not sure which optional extras to go with, get two quotes one with the base price and one with all the additional extras.  It will make it easier to eliminate what you don't need allowing you to meet your budget still.

Is the alfresco included in the base price?

An alfresco area adds valuable living space to your home, but if it's not included in the base price, it can dramatically increase your costs. Some houses do come with alfresco areas, but they may be too small for your needs. You should check if the alfresco area is included and if you can extend it if necessary. This is very important as completing or extending an alfresco at a later stage can be much more costly.

Does the base price include the little things you see?

Take note of the little things you see around the display home and make sure they are included in the final quote. It may not seem like much at the time, but if you have to buy multiple finishing items yourself, it can get costly. Some things notice include flyscreens, TV antenna, letterbox, clothesline, gardens and a driveway.

How many double power points (DDP) are included in each room?

Think about how many electronics you use in your current home. There is a good chance that you will need more power points than what is included in the base price. It's a good idea to think about this room by room to decide how many power points you will need.

Will the property be NBN ready?

A fast internet connection is something that will make the whole family happy, whether it's for business, study or leisure, we are connected online more than ever. When enquiring about a yet-to-be-built property, you should ask the builder or developer if the property will be NBN ready when you move in.

What type of lighting is considered standard?

Ask yourself how much light you'll need, your energy efficiency requirements and what is standard to the home. Some builders may only include select lights or energy-wasting lights, meaning you will need to increase your budget for more lighting. It’s a good idea to check this out room by room to make sure you aren't missing any.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Even when you ask all the right question and get a fixed quote things can still go wrong. This could include incomplete finishings, building delays and damages. Most builders will do their best to ensure this doesn't happen, but make sure they have a contingency plan just in case.

Or worse still, you could end up in significant financial loss if your contractor becomes insolvent. To ensure your financial safety check to make sure that they have a Certificate of Currency for Home Indemnity Insurance, this will protect you if something unexpected does occur.

There are many things to consider when you are checking out a display home. It can be overwhelming at times but ask the right questions and do your research to ensure a smooth building process. Making sure your builder ticks all the boxes so you can get into your dream home!

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